How To Have A Successful Garage Sale

Wow! We had such a busy weekend. But, before I tell you all about the big GARAGE SALE – whoop! – let me just say thanks to everyone who was so sweet in responding to my last post! Y’all are the best! I’m going to keep Budget Blonde just as it is for now and expand to another blog only if need be! Thanks for all your input!
So, let me give you the run down of this past weekend – Not only did we set up for a garage sale in about two days but our landlord showed our place to 4 new tenants this weekend and we coordinated several craigslist sales. Suffice to say, We. Are. Tired. But, we are also super excited that our hard work is paying off. Here’s what our set up looked like on garage sale day:

Super fun, right?
I’ll tell you all the tips and tricks I learned from being a first-timer, but let me get to the good stuff I know you want to hear. Our garage sale profit was: $383.18 and so far our Craigslist profits have exceeded $1,000! 

{Psst. After writing this whole post, it got to be super long, so I’m splitting it up! Today we’ll talk garage sale. Tomorrow, I’ll tell you how we made so much moolah on Craigslist!}
Ok, so you want to have a garage sale/moving sale? Here’s what I learned and what I would have done differently:
1. Acknowledge this will be extremely time consuming. It’s not for the lighthearted. Not only did it take me about two weeks to convince the sweet hubs that YES we ARE having a garage sale, but I had to keep the stamina and excitement and positivity going to keep him on board. (I said this in the nicest way possible. Hubs was AGAINST the garage sale and it took A LOT of convincing begging, but he enjoyed talking to people the day of and making a profit! I think he might be up for it again one day, maybe, if I buy him a cookie…or two. ;)
2. Take good pictures to advertise your garage sale on Craigslist. Keep up the positivity. For example, “This is going to be a FANTASTIC moving sale! Everything must go!” I had pictures of all our best stuff on the post, and the title of it looked a little something like **~HUGE MOVING SALE!!!!~** to draw attention to it.

3. Keeping with this theme of we-are-so-fun-come-visit-us, our signs were bright orange! They just had “moving sale” and our address on them in HUGE letters. I remembered that whenever I go garage sale-ing myself, 9 times out of 10 I can’t read the darn signs and have to loop around to see the address. So, ours didn’t have “From 9-1″ on them or anything. All the space was used for the arrows, the words “moving sale” and our address. Hubs had these babies under control…

4. Be a salesman! Seriously, at the garage sale I just pretended like I was at work doing a job. When people walked up to my house I said, “Hello! Good morning! How are y’all?” or “Hello! Are y’all looking for anything in particular or just having fun?” Seriously, I might as well have said “Welcome to the National Park Service!” So basically, treat others as you would like to be treated when you walk into a store. Silly as it sounds, your driveway is your store for the day. Make people like you! Make them want to buy your stuff! Don’t make them feel awkward or stare at them. Have fun!

5. Get up super early for the garage sale. The first person came at 6:55AM while we were still in our pajamas putting stuff outside! We kept track of how many items we sold and yes, we sold 60 ITEMS before 9:00AM, which was our official start time!

6. Put your signs out the night before, not like we did the morning of. We woke up at 5:30 and ran around taping them to various road signs. The metals poles were slick with dew and hubs had a heck of a time with them. Some cuss words may have been uttered. It would have been slightly less frustrating the night before!

8. When setting up the sale, put your best items out front. We had tons of people just drive by (of course I waved at them!) Make sure they see the good stuff – It will make them want to come in and see what else you have.
9. Start preparing sooner than we did for a garage sale. We had about 2 days to really go through everything and price things. We used these great neon stickers we found at CVS called “garage sale stickers” that already had prices on them (and for the $1 ones, you can just tack on a “0″ to make it $10…easy peasy). Honestly, we cleaned the house top to bottom yesterday and kept seeing things we should have put outside. We estimate that by getting ready too quickly, we probably lost out on $100.00 or so.

10. On a similar vein, put everything in one room either the night before or during the month or so that you prepare for the sale. The day starts early and moves QUICKLY. After the sale, we found a whole box of nice clothes in our living room that we totally forgot about. Again, preparation is key!
Well, I think those are our top ten tips and tricks from being newbies. Of course, do all the basic things like price low, bargain with people, check the weather, etc. Remember that you don’t want the stuff. Let it go for a little less. Garage sales are for purging – any profit is a bonus. If you remember that, then you’ll have fun and wont worry about what you paid for things to begin with!

If I left anything out or if you have any other questions, please feel free to e-mail me at Cat@BudgetBlonde.com. Also, if you have other tips, I’d love to read all about them in the comment section! Remember to tune in tomorrow to find out how we made over $1,000 on Craigslist!

How To: Scope out Estate Sales

I’ve been asked a few times how to find out about estate sales, most recently by the lovely Jenn of Peas & Crayons who commented yesterday: “Teach me your ways!!! <3 How do you find out about estate sales? I need much info chica!"

Well, I’m happy to share the wealth! The truth is, there are numerous ways to find out when estate sales are taking place. Many of them are advertised in the newspaper or on Craigslist. For a newspaper, just flip to the Classifieds. For Craigslist, search under the garage sale tab on your Craigslist and type in “Estate Sale” to see if anything is on the books. This is always good to do on a Friday before the weekend starts.


Once you get to an estate sale, you’ll start to recognize the names of companies that hold them. I’ve gone to estate sales many times and liked the company running it so much that I got on their mailing list. I recently just “liked” another estate sale company in Richmond on Facebook, so now I know when their next sale is. I am also on an estate sale e-mail list that the owner of a local consignment shop sends out. So once you know the people, you can get on their list and find out when the sales are. If you’re feeling especially resourceful you can always look up estate sale companies in your area in the phone book or on whitepages.com and call them up and ask to be on their list. Lastly, there is always the drive-around method. I usually do this for garage sales by just driving around in my area on the weekend and looking for signs. Very often, I’ll see an estate sale sign too and go check it out! 

Here are some of my favorite estate sale finds:


And these faux berries that we used to make a wreath this past Christmas:
A couple of things to remember too:

1. Don’t judge a book by its cover. I’ve found amazing stuff in tiny houses and awful, strange items in huge mansions.
2. This could just be my deep south roots, but I rarely return to estate sales run by companies who don’t tell me hi when I walk in the door. A good business person will greet you, talk to you a little bit, bargain with you, and tell you about their next sale. The ones that don’t do these things tend to be kind of lame and the whole point is to have a good time! I have really found this to be true over and over again.
3. If you see something unique, get it. This is a hard one because I definitely don’t advertise collecting tons of things and winding up on Hoarders. But, if you find something you know you will never see again because its old or rare and it’s a little above your price range, I always find it’s best to just get it. Otherwise, you’ll be left worrying about it and you truly won’t see it again. Trust me. Everyone’s price range is different. For me, if it’s $10.00-$20.00 more than I want to spend, then I usually get it. If we’re talking $100.00 out of my price range, then I don’t do it.
4. I always like to go on the last day in the last hours when the sale is liquidating. You can always go in the morning and return later to see what’s left. It’s amazing what people will pass up!

I realize others may have a different approach or other tips and tricks on how to find out about estate sales, so I’d love to hear more input! As always, if you have questions feel free to e-mail me at Cat@BudgetBlonde.com!